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Sliema pass tricky test against Sirens

Sliema Betsson are no doubt satisfied to have passed yesterday’s tricky test posed by Sirens Ritter Sport after edging the northerners by a solitary goal.

However, the Blues’ inability to administer a five-goal advantage, which they built midway in the third session, again raised some eyebrows in their clan as the Championship Pool now gets underway next week.

Yesterday, Sliema had coach Dejan Milakovic back on the bench after serving a one-match suspension.

However, in the end, the Blues were relieved to pip their opponents on a close 11-10 scoreline and this was evident as they opted to play out the last possession time yesterday.

Sirens contrived to squander five consecutive extra-man sets, four of which in a crucial third session, never mind an overall better scoring rate of five on 11 as opposed to Sliema’s three conversions on seven.

As a result, their comeback was postponed till the last session of the match when they also profited from Sliema’s failure to strike at least one goal from their last three numerical advantages they had in favour.

On the upside for the Blues was Marco Cuk’s return to his striking stints, having netted five of his side’s goals despite his duties to shadow Sergi Mora whose hat-trick has propelled him to the summit of the scorers’ list this summer on 31 goals.

Indeed, the Blues’ early dominance almost fizzled out completely after two-goal Nicholas Bugelli had started their goal trail early on to be continued by Edward Aquilina, who has scored in every match so far, John Soler, Mark Meli and John Brownrigg.

Sirens replied with goals from Zach Mizzi, Gabriel Pace, Marc Grech, Jacob Sciberras and Luke Caruana who netted a hat-trick to emulate the Spaniard Mora.

Marco Baldinetti’s team refused to fold but they ran out of time trying to salvage the game.

Sliema 11
Sirens 10
(4-3, 4-1, 2-3, 1-3)

Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabarretta, E. Aquilina 1, C. Cluett, M. Meli 1, J. Soler 1, K. Dowling, T. Sullivan, J. Brownrigg 1, A. Attard, M. Cuk 5, N. Bugelli 2, Z. Sciberras.

Sirens: M. Grixti, Z. Mizzi 1, S. Mora 3, G. Pace 1, M. Grech 1, I. Riolo, M. Balucci, D. Cutajar, J. Napier, J. Sciberras 1, L. Caruana 3, N. Farrugia, M. Muscat.

Referees: A. Goncharenko, G. Ibba.

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